Davidson +1 vs. Wichita St. for your NCAA Basketball Picks

Willie Bee

Sunday, December 29, 2013 1:30 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013 1:30 PM UTC

Contrary to popular belief, there's more than just NFL games to watch and wager on Sunday afternoon, including a top 10 squad on its home floor looking to extend an unbeaten record.

Wichita State is that ranked team -- No. 10 according to the writers, No. 8 in the coaches poll -- and the Shockers will try and move to 13-0 on the season when the Davidson Wildcats pay them a visit. Tip-off at Koch Arena is a little after 3 PM (ET), with the interconference clash currently not listed on any television slate.

The Shockers were sent out as big 18 point favorites before overnight action pushed that down a notch to 17. No total has been released, so keep checking SBR's live college basketball odds for that number once it comes out.

These teams met a little less than two years ago in a BracketBuster contest at Davidson, and the Shockers skated to a 91-74 victory as 3-point favorites, thanks in large part to an outstanding second half. That was the only previous meeting between the schools, and the final skipped past the 150-point total.

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'Cats Drag 3-Game Skid Into Wichita

Davidson is in its lame-duck season in the Southern Conference before moving to the A-10 next year, a move that university president Dr. Carol Guillen said, "The A-10 provides academically strong institutions located in areas where Davidson has a presence and seeks greater visibility." Translation: Higher revenue stream from the basketball program.

The Wildcats were expected to contend for another SoCon title before the season began, but don't look that strong now with a 4-8 record (3-7 against the spread) that includes three straight losses heading into Sunday's match. To be fair, Bob McKillop's troops have played a very tough schedule, 19th-toughest according to Ken Pomeroy, with this game at Wichita State marking the Wildcats' fifth ranked opponent, all either on the road or in a neutral gym.

It's also their second consecutive ranked foe after falling in overtime at North Carolina eight days ago, 97-85, a game in which the Tar Heels were favored by 17.5 at the closing bell. We've got to give the Wildcats their due for going into Chapel Hill and pushing UNC into OT, but at the same time it's a game they could have won with better free throw shooting, and it doesn't let them off the hook in the previous two losses as short home 'dogs to Drexel and a setback as 6-point chalk vs. Niagara.

Davidson's biggest problem this season has been finding the net with any consistency, and that was behind those defeats to Drexel and Niagara.  This has been especially evident from beyond the arc where the Wildcats are among the worst 3-point shooting teams in the nation (29.4%). Considering they are not a big team and have been manhandled on the glass as well, that's got to change if the 'Cats are going to win a conference title.

Shockers Head Into Mo Valley Action Next

Wichita State, on the other hand, has it going on both ends of the floor, and their current 12-0 run (7-1 ATS) to begin the season was borne in last year's NCAA Tournament when the Shockers ousted a No. 1 seed (Gonzaga) and No. 2 seed (Ohio State) before falling to eventual champ Louisville at the Final Four.

Head coach Gregg Marshall lost his point guard Malcolm Armstead and top rebounder Carl Hall from that team, but has found solid replacements for them both. Cleanthony Early has picked up where he left off with a 15.3 PPG scoring average, and increased his rebounding to help the Shockers to a top-50 ranking on the glass. Fred VanFleet has been solid at point in place of Armstead, while Juco transfer Darius Carter's court time is increasing and becoming a bigger part of the offense.

The Shockers are definitely the better team, but I'm not sure they're 17 points better than Davidson, assuming the Wildcats can find a little consistency with their shooting. My free college basketball pick is going to be on the underdog 'Cats.

College Basketball Pick: Davidson +1

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